NEW YORK (Aug. 7)
A spokesman for the Jewish Defense League said here today that the militant organization planned to send members to Passaic tonight to protect Jewish merchants from the rioting which has swept Passaic for the past several days. Several JDL members went to Passaic last night for that purpose. The JDL spokesman here refused to say how many members went to Passaic last night or whether they were armed. The spokesman said “We were called for help. If we can help, we will.”
The rioting was sparked by the attempt of a landlord to raise the rent of tenement apartments occupied mainly by Puerto Ricans. The rioters firebombed a Passaic school last night despite a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. Many of the business enterprises damaged in the violence were Jewish-owned and one of the merchants reportedly asked the JDL for help.
Bertram Zweibon, JDL attorney, called the rioting “a pogrom.” and “a visitation of the Kristallnacht.” a reference to the night of Nov. 9. 1938, when Nazi storm troopers smashed Jewish stores and synagogues In a coordinated action throughout Germany. The JDL attorney said he did not know whether the members sent to Passaic were armed. Mayor Bernard Pinck of Passaic called the JDL presence “vigilante control” and said it was not necessary. He said “we are prepared to handle the situation with our local people.”